Love of self is needed for a healthy foundation on which to build love for other people.
Note that Luke 10:27 says “Love your neighbor as yourself” (emphasis added).
When I talk about loving oneself, I’m not talking about taking bubble baths, scheduling “me-time,” or exercising regularly. Instead, I’m talking about knowing your identity and being able to monitor your thoughts, so that you think upon truth and live out of a place of love. You can take ten thousand bubble baths, exercise everyday, and eat only organic food, but still be riddled with anxiety, filled with anger, buried in offense, or overcome by depression. I used to think the idea of loving yourself was very selfish and should be avoided. With this mindset, not only did I not fully understand what love meant, but I also was miserable in my own skin.
Love of self is confidence and humility in knowing your identity. Identity is who you are.
Merriam Webster defines identity as “the distinguishing character or personality of an individual.”
In order to truly love and appreciate a person, you need to know who they are and also encourage them in their potential of who they can become. The same goes for yourself.
Knowing who you are enables you to understand that you are valuable and worthy of both giving and receiving love, and also to be humble and teachable in your weaknesses.
Knowing your identity involves:
- Centering – Knowing who or what your heart and life are and should be centered on
- Recognizing – Becoming aware of false beliefs and unhealthy thinking
- Eliminating & Restoring – Getting rid of lies and replacing them with truth
- Safekeeping – Guarding and renewing your thoughts and mind
We are dearly loved by Christ and we have the strongest identity when our lives are centered on him. I will talk about this in my next post, and cover the other three areas in consecutive ones.